Prof. David Dorn

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with falling marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Interessen

Labor Economics, International Trade, Technological Change and Innovation, Macroeconomics, Political Economy

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets

Prof. David Dorn

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with falling marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Interessen

Labor Economics, International Trade, Technological Change and Innovation, Macroeconomics, Political Economy

Selected publications

  • When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage Market Value of Young Men with David Autor and Gordon Hanson, American Economic Review: Insights, 2(1): 161-178, 2019 download

  • Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share with David Autor, Lawrence Katz, Christina Patterson and John Van Reenen, American Economic Review, P&P, 107(5): 180-185, 2017 download

  • The China Shock: Learning from Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade. with David Autor and Gordon Hanson, Annual Review of Economics, 8: 205-240, 2016 download

  • Trade Adjustment: Worker Level Evidence with David Autor, Gordon Hanson and Jae Song, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(4): 1799-1860, 2014 download

  • The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the U.S. with David Autor and Gordon Hanson, American Economic Review, 103(6): 2121-2168, 2013 download

  • The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market with David Autor, American Economic Review 103(5): 1553-1597, 2013 download

Research

David Dorn’s research studies the impact of globalization and technological change on labor market and society. His recent work shows that the rapid rise of goods imports from China to the US since the 1990s has had lasting adverse effects on both the careers of workers who were employed in import-competing industries, and on the economic development of cities where such industries were concentrated. These findings challenged and changed the conventional wisdom that trade has few discernible labor market effects. In related work, Dorn showed that the sharp contraction of manufacturing employment in import-exposed local labor markets is associated with broader patterns of social decline, including falling marriage rates and rising death tolls due to drug abuse. These same locations also experienced shifts in their electoral outcomes, as voters have become more likely to elect politicians whose policy positions place them on the far left, or more often on the far right of the spectrum of political ideology. The declining support for moderate politicians contributes to a polarization of US congress that makes it increasingly difficult to find bi-partisan solutions for dealing with the country’s economic and social problems.

Dorn’s ongoing research emphasizes that there is not only rising wage inequality among workers, but also a changing distribution of aggregate income between capital and labor. The labor share in national income is falling in many countries, which has a dramatic effect on income inequality: Since capital income is extremely concentrated at the top of the income distribution, a shift of aggregate income away from labor and towards capital will raise relative incomes at the very top, and reduce relative incomes for the majority of the population. Dorn’s work shows that the decline in labor’s income share is associated with a rapidly growing importance of large ‘superstar firms’. An analysis of nearly the full population of US firms indicates that larger firms charge higher mark-ups and are more profitable, which in turn implies that lower labor income share in these firms. During the last three decades, many output markets in the US and Europe have become more concentrated and dominated by large firms, and this increasing importance of ‘superstar firms’ shifts the distribution of aggregate income towards capital. This is a concern both due to growing monopolistic power in output markets, and rising income inequality in society.

David Dorn’s research studies the impact of globalization and technological change on labor market and society. His recent work shows that the rapid rise of goods imports from China to the US since the 1990s has had lasting adverse effects on both the careers of workers who were employed in import-competing industries, and on the economic development of cities where such industries were concentrated. These findings challenged and changed the conventional wisdom that trade has few discernible labor market effects. In related work, Dorn showed that the sharp contraction of manufacturing employment in import-exposed local labor markets is associated with broader patterns of social decline, including falling marriage rates and rising death tolls due to drug abuse. These same locations also experienced shifts in their electoral outcomes, as voters have become more likely to elect politicians whose policy positions place them on the far left, or more often on the far right of the spectrum of political ideology. The declining support for moderate politicians contributes to a polarization of US congress that makes it increasingly difficult to find bi-partisan solutions for dealing with the country’s economic and social problems.

Dorn’s ongoing research emphasizes that there is not only rising wage inequality among workers, but also a changing distribution of aggregate income between capital and labor. The labor share in national income is falling in many countries, which has a dramatic effect on income inequality: Since capital income is extremely concentrated at the top of the income distribution, a shift of aggregate income away from labor and towards capital will raise relative incomes at the very top, and reduce relative incomes for the majority of the population. Dorn’s work shows that the decline in labor’s income share is associated with a rapidly growing importance of large ‘superstar firms’. An analysis of nearly the full population of US firms indicates that larger firms charge higher mark-ups and are more profitable, which in turn implies that lower labor income share in these firms. During the last three decades, many output markets in the US and Europe have become more concentrated and dominated by large firms, and this increasing importance of ‘superstar firms’ shifts the distribution of aggregate income towards capital. This is a concern both due to growing monopolistic power in output markets, and rising income inequality in society.

David Dorn on Google Scholarbrowse

Videos

In the media

  • David Dorn über die Wurzeln des Populismus SRF vom 12.11.2019 | Tagesgespräch hören

  • Schweiz muss wettbewerbsfähig sein Finanz und Wirtschaft 9.9.2019 (in German) read

  • Wirtschaft und Politik: Sie wollen das eine – und tun es dann doch nicht NZZ 6.9.2019 (in German) read

  • Why did the China shock hurt so much? The Economist 7.3.2019 read

  • Economics is not a zero-sum game Radio 1 podcast March 2019 (in German) listen

  • The downside of free trade SRF Info3 interview January 2019 (in German) listen

  • I rely on empirical data Bilanz January 2019 (in German) read

  • One year of trade war and no end Finanz und Wirtschaft December 2018 (in German) read

Quote

Rising trade does not necessarily lead to a balanced labor market impact where decreases in labor demand in some industries are offset by increases in labor demand in other industries.

Interviews and features

2014

Images

Kontakt

Persönlich

Supportpersonal

Name:

Anne Sander

Bürozeiten:

Monday (08.00 - 15.00), Tuesday (08.00 - 15.00), Wednesday (08.00 - 12.00) and Friday (09.00 - 12:00)

Addresse

University of Zurich

Department of Economics, Schönberggasse 1, 8001 Zürich
(Google Maps)